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JazzTimes 10: Jazz on Film

Ten great examples of what happens when jazz goes to the movies—and the movies go to jazz

4. Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1960)
Take a dive with director Bert Stern in the healing, calming, balming, aquamarine waters of jazz, which no summer heat can beat. It sure looked toasty on this afternoon at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1958, even with the shots of crafts on the breeze-rippled ocean. There is no dialogue, no narration, but there is a lot of pure sound poesy. If colors—and they are rich here—could talk, they would talk in the sounds of jazz, you start to think. I like the confluence element, where Chuck Berry and Big Maybelle are every bit as jazz as Sonny Stitt and Thelonious Monk, which makes a certain amount of sense. You think Monk wasn’t sometimes doing with his piano licks what Berry was riffing away at in the starts of his songs?

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Originally Published

Colin Fleming

Colin Fleming writes fiction and nonfiction on myriad topics—art, film, music, sports, literature—for a wide range of publications. He also talks regularly on the radio for the likes of NPR and Downtown with Rich Kimball. His most recent book, Buried on the Beaches: Cape Stories for Hooked Hearts and Driftwood Souls (Tailwinds), was published in 2019, with an entry in Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series on Sam Cooke’s Live at the Harlem Square Club to follow in 2020. Find him on the web at (where you’ll also find his unique online journal, the Many Moments More blog) and on Twitter @colinfleminglit. He lives in Boston and has contributed to JazzTimes since 2006.